Gobble and grow!
Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack is a sleeper gem, the sequel to the PS3 release ‘Tales from Space: About a Blob’. This PSN release is priced at a mere €6,99/$5,99/£5.49 and is absolutely worth it. You control a chunk of goo with the mission of gobbling up everything and everyone. The game is a combination of the Katamari-style rolling and eating mechanics and a puzzle-platformer. It makes excellent use of the Vita’s touch- and motion control features, without violently forcing them down your throat.
You control a blob used for gruesome experiments and torture. After a scientist accidentally drops you after you make his hand slimy, you escape and free all the other blobs. You then go on an adventure, eating everything smaller than you and growing slowly until you ingest the solar system itself. The levels start out fairly simple and straightforward, but at certain points along the ride, the mysterious, one-eyed, green blob get extra powers and suddenly you’ll be flying and clinging to steel pipes using magnetic forces. Touch screen controls are occasionally implemented and never get in the way of play. Motion controls are exclusive to the ‘Tilt-A-Blob’ levels, where you move your green, jelly mutant by tilting your system, which sometimes works a little frustrating but adapting is a matter of mere minutes.
Levels consist of sections where you eat objects to grow bigger and eventually eating a cork so you can escape through the sewer pipes. It’s surprisingly fun and satisfying to see that you start out with eating tiny things such as cans, and end up eating tanks and whole cities. However, the challenge lies in the puzzling bits. The movement physics in Tales from Space are quite loose, and the spongy body of your blob will not always jump the way you want. As you progress, grow bigger, eat more corks and dissolve more people in your slimy intestines, your alien muck will acquire several abilities which allow for ingenious level designs. Floating and flying around in zero-gravity by expelling gas from your blob’s behind (which behind?) is very fun, and clinging to and repelling metal pipes can be quite tricky. At first you’re just jumping from pipe to pipe, but the next level you have to float precisely between death and danger and time your button presses very well. The difficulty slope is quite linear and ramps up perfectly, never frustrating you, but at the same time never giving you the feeling of real challenge except for the odd two puzzles (lasers galore).
The funny cartoonish graphical style supports the light-hearted feeling the game is communicating to you. The cut scenes feature characters drawn in a grotesque style, which allows for child-like humour and managed to made me chuckle quite a few times. The colourful graphics look delicious on the Vita’s lush OLED screen and the colour palette used often gives you the feeling as if you’re looking at the game from an older television (especially the Tilt-a-blob levels). The humour in this game is mainly presented by its backdrop (see screenshots). Several billboards feature hilarious texts which are references to other games or pop culture, and there is even a tiny bit of a level inspired on the world’s most famous birds!
The music and sound effects also have a 50s sci-fi vibe to them. The score is hard the place into a certain genre, but it’s nice on the ears and a little reminiscent of jazzy themes such as the Pink Panther’s movie introductory theme. The screams of the small human figures when they are about to be devoured by the almighty blob seeking its revenge are priceless (and sadistically satisfying), and the voices of the news announcers (voices? more like random noises) fit their appearance and the overall humour of the game.
The campaign is quite short (I finished it within 5 hours), which is to be expected for a cheap mobile game that does not want to fall into repetitiveness. For the purely single-player-oriented gamer, there is not much replay value, but for the trophy hunter or competitive player there is more to do. Trying to get the high score on the leader boards by finishing the level as quickly as possible while still eating as many objects (and blue point dots) as you can may prove very addictive. Getting a gold medal on every stage is fun to do and holds the same requirements as getting a high point streak, as well as swallowing your two ‘blob friends’ who can be found in hidden parts in each level.
Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack is a charming and humorous mobile game with simple yet enjoyable platforming gameplay. The controls work well, andWhat worries me, is that the game feels like a mobile game but is priced at a significantly higher price point (though not as absurd as Dungeon Hunter: Alliance). However, this is still one of the cheaper Vita games and I feel that it is absolutely worth every penny, with as highlights its somewhat childish humour, funny physics-based puzzles and excellent Grande Finale.